World News

    Russian Parliament Approves Use of Troops in Ukraine's Crimea Region

    The Russian parliament has approved President Vladimir Putin's request to use the Russian military in Ukraine's Crimea region, further raising tensions between the neighbors.

    Saturday's vote made official what Ukrainian authorities have described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in Crimea.

    At a meeting of the interim government in Kyiv Saturday, Ukraine's acting defense minister said 6,000 additional Russian troops have been deployed on Ukrainian soil.

    Ukraine's newly-appointed Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk demanded Russia stop what he called its "provocations" in Crimea and said the Ukrainian military in the majority Russian area is on high alert..

    The Black Sea peninsula, part of Ukraine since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, is now the focus of turmoil in Ukraine after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted a week ago.

    The newly-appointed pro-Russian prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, claimed control of the region's military and other security forces Saturday and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin for help restoring "peace and calm."

    Russia's lower house of parliament also urged Mr. Putin Saturday to take steps to stabilize the situation in Crimea. But U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russia Friday not to intervene in Ukraine, saying there would be consequences.



    Russia, meanwhile, has said its troop movements in Crimea, where it leases a naval base in Sevastopol, fall within agreements with Ukraine

    Ukraine has refused to recognize the Crimean prime minister, with acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov issuing a statement declaring Mr. Aksyonov's appointment a violation of Ukraine's constitution.

    Mr. Aksyonov was appointed by the Crimean parliament earlier this week as tensions soared over Crimea's resistance to the new authorities in Kyiv, who took power last week.

    VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott says unidentified soldiers and military vehicles have appeared in the Crimean region, well beyond their local base. She said at least a dozen were stationed outside parliament in the Crimean capital of Simferopol Saturday. She said she also saw gunmen in camouflage at the Simferopol airport Friday.

    There are also reports of Russian troops surrounding the state-run television station in Simferopol.

    The head of Russia's upper house of parliament said Saturday she could not rule out the possibility that a limited contingent of troops could be sent to Crimea to assure the security of the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol and Russian citizens living in the region.

    Crimea, placed under Ukrainian control in 1943 by late Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, has a tiny border with Russia on its far eastern point. Most of the people living in Crimea are ethnic Russians, but the region is also home to ethnic Muslim Tartars who generally show disdain toward Russia.

    Ukrainian President Turchynov, said Friday Russian actions in Crimea are "naked aggression." He likened the actions to events that led up to Russia's 2008 invasion of Abkhazia - a pro-Russian region of Georgia.

    In another development Saturday, Russia's Energy Ministry has threatened not to continue Ukraine's gas price discount because of Ukraine's unpaid balance. Gazprom said Saturday Ukraine's outstanding gas debt for 2013 and this year is $1.55 billion.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora